Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C

Souvenirs De La Commune Par Léonce Schérer

Print
1871 (printed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Print depicting Gustave Courbet, holding a small mallet and hammering at a small pile of stones. He is standing in front of a scene in which the Vendome column is demolished in sections. Print from a set of caricatures, broadsheets and illustrations in ten volumes. Each volume is half-bound in red leather, gold tooled and stamped with imperial emblems, title etc.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleL'homme qui était un jour appelé a démolir la Colonne... (generic title)
Materials and Techniques
Hand-coloured lithograph on paper
Brief Description
'L'homme qui était un jour appelé a démolir la Colonne...' Satirical illustration by Léonce Schérer depicting Gustave Courbet, holding a small mallet and hammering at a small pile of stones. Hand-coloured lithograph, France, 1871.
Physical Description
Print depicting Gustave Courbet, holding a small mallet and hammering at a small pile of stones. He is standing in front of a scene in which the Vendome column is demolished in sections. Print from a set of caricatures, broadsheets and illustrations in ten volumes. Each volume is half-bound in red leather, gold tooled and stamped with imperial emblems, title etc.
Dimensions
  • Height: 26cm
  • Width: 16.8cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'Souvenirs De La Commune. No.21 Deforet & César, Edit. Rue Nve. des Petits Champs. 64 Lith. Barousse à Paris.' (Lettered)
  • 'L'homme qui était un jour appelé a démolir la Colonne devait commencer par êtrer casseur de pierres.' (Lettered with caption)
  • 'L Schérer' (Signed)
Gallery Label
Léonce Schérer (1827-76) As the Vendôme Column heels over and breaks up into sections Courbet hacks away at a pile of stones. This is a reference to his painting ‘The Stonebreakers’, exhibited at the Salon of 1850-51, which Proudhon later labelled the ‘first socialist painting’.' Lithograph, coloured by hand. From a series of 30. E.1807-1962(27/05/1971-10/10/1971)
Object history
Provenance unknown.

Plate 21 from a series of 30 entitled SOUVENIRS DE LA COMMUNE.
Historical context
As early as September 1870, the French painter Gustave Courbet had urged the demolition of the Vendôme Column on the grounds that it was a symbol of Bonapartism and that it offended his artistic sensibilities. On 12 April 1871, the Commune authorized its destruction, which was carried out with great celebrations on 16 May.



After the war Courbet, who was elected to the Commune at the April by-elections, was sentenced to six months' imprisonment and ordered to pay an enormous fine towards the column's reconstruction. To avoid finding the sum he fled to Switzerland.
Subjects depicted
Place Depicted
Bibliographic References
  • Lambert, Susan, The Franco-Prussian War and The Commune in Caricature 1870-71: catalogue of a collection of prints in the possession of the Department of Prints and Drawings of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, V&A, 1971
  • Victoria & Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1962. London: HMSO, 1964.
Collection
Accession Number
E.1807-1962

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record createdFebruary 12, 2009
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